Kitzhaber names economic teams
By Erik Siemers, Business Journal Staff Writer
Business Journal Staff Writer
Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber on Wednesday unveiled five teams of regional business leaders tasked with coming up with Legislative proposals to help drive job creation in Oregon.
In what was described as his first action as governor-elect following his victory last week over Republican Chris Dudley, Kitzhaber declared Wednesday “day one of our effort to put Oregon back to work.”
The five teams will be coordinated by Tim Imeson, the Port of Portland’s public affairs director and a longtime aide to Democratic governors.
Each team is organized around specified categories and assigned leaders who will work to recruit more members. Their goal is develop statutory and regulatory recommendations to present to the Legislature in February.
• An economic development team will study ways to connect Oregon businesses with investment capital and market research. It will be led by State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Wally Van Valkenburg, managing partner of the law firm Stoel Rives and chairman of the Oregon Business Development Commission.
• The manufacturing team will focus on sustaining and recruiting high-wage manufacturing jobs. It is led by John Charter, chairman of Portland-based Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., and John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Oregon Building Trades Council.
• An energy efficiency team will work toward developing a program focused on large-scale energy efficiency upgrades to schools that can be up and running by next summer. The group is led by Margaret Kirkpatrick, vice president and general counsel at Northwest Natural Gas Co.; Barbara Byrd, secretary-treasurer at the AFL-CIO, and Maurice Rahming, president of O’Neill Electric.
• A biomass energy team will focus ways to increase demand for woody biomass for use in energy production, while exploring other bioenergy resources. The group is led by John Shelk, managing director of Ochoco Lumber Co.; Matt Donegan, co-president of Forest Capital Partners; and Russ Hoeflich, vice president of The Nature Conservancy.
• A workforce development team will develop a strategy to connect unemployed Oregonians to education and training needed to qualify for open jobs. High-demand industries like health care, technicians and welders, as well as emerging industries like wind power and other clean tech sectors will be given particular focus. That team is led by Dave Williams, a NW Natural vice president and chairman of the Oregon Workforce Investment Board, and Lori Luchak, president of Miles Fiberglass.
Kitzhaber also said he will use this year’s Oregon Business Summit on Dec. 13 to turn the Oregon Business Plan into a series of specific actions to improve the state’s economy. He will employ a “Community Solutions” model from his previous administration to develop regional strategies.
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